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To Deliver Amazing Service Remember What You Control

Kevin Stirtz

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Remember What You Control (And What You Don't)

This has been said a thousand ways by a thousand people but it's still true. And it's important. Time and energy spent worrying about (or trying to change) something beyond our control is wasted.

Every day we are faced with situations we do not control. No matter what the situation is we need to evaluate it so we know how to best handle it. To do this, I decide which one of these groups the situation fits in:

1. I can directly control the situation.
2. I can influence the situation.
3. I can neither control nor influence the situation.

Group one is a small group (if we're honest!). But the situations that fall into this group are easily dealt with. Just do it!

Group three requires no action on our part since we have no effect on them. But we often need to stay aware of these situations (like overall market demand for our product or service).

Group two is where we spend most our time and effort. These situations may be beyond our direct control but we can influence them.

An example might be a complaining customer.

We cannot control whether they will accept (and be happy with) our solution to the problem. It's their choice. But how we work with them, how we treat them and what we offer to do for them all affect the choice they will make.

The key here is to know what we can do and how it might affect the outcome we want. We need to remember the end result is not our choice. It's the customer's choice. But they will decide based on a lot of things, like how they felt we treated them and how well we resolved their issue.

Here's a six-step method for handling these “group two" situations:

1. Know what your options are
2. Do the best you can
3. Accept that the final outcome is not in your control
4. Have faith that the “right outcome" will happen more often than not
5. Learn from every situation
6. Move on

This will help us do the best we can for your customers without agonizing over every little detail and outcome. It prevents us from falling into the “I should have" trap. And it will help you deliver better service to your customers so they keep coming back. I guarantee it!

Kevin Stirtz is the “Amazing Service Guy", a customer service speaker and trainer who helps companies increase revenue and profits by delivering Amazing Service. Kevin has been quoted in such major media as BusinessWeek, the Boston Globe, Smart Money and the Chicago Sun Times. Get a free copy of his Amazing Service Toolkit at


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